Should gospel artistes win Reggae Grammy?

October 14, 2019
 Judith Gayle
Judith Gayle
Stitchie
Stitchie

Marion Hall
Marion Hall
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The Grammy category for Best Reggae Album has the reputation of being a tight field of recording artistes vying for the top prize in the genre. The category draws its considerations each year from a diverse catalogue, not limited to reggae music, but offerings from ska, lovers' rock and dancehall. In the recent decade, there has been an increased interest in this category from gospel entertainers.

"Imagine headlines noting, 'Gospel artiste wins Reggae Grammy', that would be interesting," said anointed singer and author Judith Gayle, who for the first time, with seven albums under her belt, has submitted her latest compilation, Breakthrough, for Grammy consideration.

"Firstly, it was not mine but the collaborative decision of Katsjam Digital and Zojak Worldwide to submit my album for pre-nomination voting," Gayle told THE STAR.

She continued: "I have no idea what the process is like. I am completely clueless as to how they do these things. But am I satisfied at the announcement? Of course!"

The NY-based gospel singer was ordained as a minister in 2014 by Family of Christ Ministries and continues to win awards such as the Best 2015 Trail Blazer by Gospel Vibes Radio in New York and is currently celebrating over nine million views on YouTube for Give Me Jesus.

She said: "I am one of those singers doing it for the purpose of saving souls, so nominated or not, I want to know that the album touched lives. And from the looks of it, I have almost 10 million views for one track from the album, which must count for something."

The total number of gospel artistes that have submitted albums in the reggae category for the 2020 Grammy Awards is unknown, but Stitchie, who made the transition from dancehall music to gospel in 1997, has revealed that his 22nd album, Masterclass, is one of the potential nominees.

According to Minister Marion Hall's manager, Delroy Escoffery, most of the times, the record labels are responsible for the album submissions. That being said, he expressed: "Once the artistes come from Jamaica or have roots, they automatically consider the reggae category."

Minister Hall's 10th album, His Grace, released in July 2018, was submitted, he said, by VP Records last year but it did not make the final nomination list.

"It is possible that the labels find it easier to promote the artiste as a reggae-gospel artiste rather than an international gospel artiste as is common in the US. But take, for example, His Grace, it hardly had any reggae on it and would have probably done better in one of the gospel categories," Escoffery stated.

The artiste manager believes that gospel recording artistes should consider Grammy submissions outside of the reggae category in order to give the locally produced music of the gospel genre an even greater opportunity for recognition on the global stages.